Sunday, March 13, 2022

Italian Beef Sandwiches #recipe @VMBURNS

VMBURNS: My hometown is 90 miles east of Chicago, so I spent a lot of time  in the Windy City shopping on Michigan Avenue, going to Cubs games, or visiting family. As an undergrad, I attended Northwestern University (Go Cats!). So, over the years (decades), I've had a LOT of Italian Beef Sandwiches. There's nothing quite like a good Italian Beef Sandwich in Chicago. If you've never had one, I can't describe it. It's pretty darned delicious. Actually, now that I think about it, a lot of my favorite foods either originated in Chicago or have a strong connection, including stuffed pizza from Giordanos, Garrett's popcorn, Chicago dogs, and Italian Beef Sandwiches. I had no idea that Italian Beef Sandwiches originated in Chicago until I was reading a blog for these yummy sandwiches at Carlsbad Cravings

I LOVE cooking with my crockpot. It's so easy. There are a lot of ingredients in this recipe, but apart from the roast, you probably have them all in your spice cabinet or refrigerator already. Other than searing the meat, you basically dump everything else in the slow cooker and let the slow cooker do its thing. Put the crockpot on low and when you come home, the house will smell AMAZING. So, when I'm craving a taste of home, this is one of my go-to meals. Not that into sandwiches? The shredded beef is super flavorful. Try an open face roast beef sandwich or put the shredded beef on tortilla chips for nachos. Trust me, it's delicious.



    • 6 hoagie rolls
    • 6 slices provolone cheese 
    • 16 oz. jar mild pepperoncini peppers/sliced pepper rings
    • Roasted red peppers, patted dry, optional
    • Giardiniera. optional


    • 3-5 lbs. beef chuck roast trimmed of excess fat
    • 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
    • 14.5 oz. can low sodium beef broth
    • 1 Cup Coke
    • 1/4 Cup Worcestershire sauce 
    • 1/4 Cup reduced sodium soy sauce 
    • 3 Tablespoons dried minced onions
    • 1 Tablespoon beef bouillon 
    • 2 Teaspoons EACH of dried oregano, dried basil, dried parsley, garlic powder
    • 1/2 Teaspoon EACH of salt, pepper, dried thyme
    • 1/3 Cup pepperoncini juice
    1. Heat vegetable oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet. When the oil is heated, sear the meat on all sides until browned and transfer to a 6 qt. slow cooker. 

    2. Add all remaining roast ingredients to the slow cooker and stir. 

    3. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours or on high for 4-6 hours until meat is  tender. 
    4. Shred roast with two forks and discard excess fat. Continue to cook on low for 30 minutes and allow the roast to absorb the juice.
    5. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Split rolls and lay them cut side up on a large baking tray. Bake for 5 minutes to toast the buns.
    6. Pile bottom side of buns with meat, followed by desired toppings (pepperoncini, roasted bell peppers, giardiniera etc.), followed by cheese. 

    7. Return baking tray to the oven (leaving both top and bottoms cut side up) and bake at 400 degrees F for 5-10 minutes or until cheese is completely melted. Serve immediately. This isn't a French Dip, but the remaining liquid could be used as a dip if desired.

                READERS: Are there foods that remind you of a specific place? Do you ever try to return there via food? Share in the comments for your chance to win an electronic copy of the first book in my RJ Franklin Mystery series, TRAVELLIN' SHOES. Don't forget to leave your email address.

                TRAVELLIN' SHOES, RJ Franklin Mystery #1.


                A house fire is extinguished to reveal the body of a choir director. The smell of gasoline points to murder. Thomas Warrendale was employed by First Baptist Church, where Detective RJ Franklin Jr. is a parishioner. Recovering from a car accident, RJ is on leave from the police force in St. Joseph, Indiana, when this puzzling case calls him back. His insider's knowledge makes him the obvious choice to lead the investigation. The congregation doubled after Warrendale revamped the music to appeal to a more youthful crowd. RJ's godmother, Mama B, gives the detective an earful about the choir director's non-musical activities. Warrendale was also an accountant and a "fancy pants" seducer. His clients believe the man was stealing from them. Warrendale turns out to be an alias; his real name was Tyrone Warren, once a highly paid CPA in Cleveland. Was Warren in hiding? From his stone-faced wife? A disgruntled client? Now someone is breaking in to the dead choir director's office and the homes of his former clients. Believing the vandal to be the killer, RJ is particularly concerned about the safety of one client, the striking owner of two hair salons. Book 1 in the RJ Franklin Mystery series. Soul food recipes included.


                1. VALERIE: Yum, I remember eating Italian beef sandwiches while visiting Chicago. I think I went to Al's or Portillo's.

                  And I also have had the original French Dip sandwich in downtown L.A.
                  Also NOLA po-boys are soooo good. I tried several different ones while on vacation.

                  1. I love Portillo's. They have one in my hometown, now. I always get the Italian beef.

                2. My mouth is watering! I grew up in a small town in Indiana about an hour SW of Chicago, and Italian beef sandwiches (and the best thin crust pizza on the planet) were staples. Definitely trying this one. California does not do Italian beef or pizza like Chicago or sub sandwiches like New Jersey.

                  1. I can't get authentic Italian beef or Chicago pizza in the south either. However, it's something I look forward to whenever I go home for a visit.

                  2. Just wanted to say thanks for my Kindle copy of Travelin' Shoes. A new-to-me series I am looking forward to reading. Thanks again.

                3. Hi Valerie! Your recipe reminds me of our Philadelphia cheese steaks, and I love them. I'm going to share this recipe with friends and try it myself. Thanks!

                  1. Thanks, Tina. I love these. I also love a good Philly cheese steak sandwich, too. I hope you enjoy it.

                4. Valerie, I am from about 40 miles outside of Chicago, now in Texas. Waiting for Portillo's to come to town. I will have to try this recipe! Thanks

                  1. Hi Gayle. I'm waiting for Portillo's to come to Georgia, too. The food is definitely one of the things I miss about the Chicago area (and the shopping). What I don't miss is the weather. :-)

                5. Coke?! (Not "Pepsi" or generic "cola") What secret flavor does that add?
                  Otherwise, I think I'd add onions because...why not!
                  Sounds tasty.

                  1. Libby,
                    The acid in Coke acts like a meat tenderizer. Its often used to marinate and flavor beef and pork. Adding Coke may be more of a Southern thing. I use it in a crockpot ham recipe, too. Hmmm, I haven't made that in quite some time. I suppose other colas will work, too, but I wouldn't try diet. I'm not sure what the artificial sweeter will taste like. I personally don't like Pepsi. It's too sweet for me.